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Military jets cause sonic boom, startle Washington, DC area

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The sonic boom from a military jet racing toward the site of a crash in Virginia left hundreds startled in the Washington, DC area who witnessed the explosive sound on Sunday.

Residents around the capital and surrounding communities were left bewildered when the boom rang out after 3 p.m., with Department of Defense officials confirming it was the result of fighter jet taking off from the Joint Base Andrews, in Maryland.

The jet was deployed after a private Cessna jet, believed to be on autopilot, flew into authorized airspace over the capital before crashing down in southwest Virginia.

Washington’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency said the boom was heard across the National Capital Region, but that “there is no threat at this time.” Officials also denied that any US jet caused the Cessna flight to crash.

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The Pentagon did not immediately respond to the Post’s request for comment.

The sonic boom, which occurs after a vehicle breaks the sound barrier at 767 mph, could be heard throughout the capital, and cities in Maryland and northern Virginia, with many taking to Twitter to question the explosion that rattled their homes.


A large sonic boom startled the Washington, D.C. area after a fighter jet took off from Joint Base Andrews, in Maryland.
A large sonic boom startled the Washington, D.C. area after a fighter jet took off from Joint Base Andrews, in Maryland.
Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images

“It was loud enough to shake my f—king coffee table” local Matt Cox tweeted following the boom. “Thank God there isn’t an infant in the house.”

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The uproar eventually caused the hashtag #explosion, to trend on Twitter Sunday afternoon as residents shared their experiences.

The Annapolis Office of Emergency Management eventually sent out a notice informing residents about the cause of the explosive sound.


The jet was taking off to the scene of a crash in Virginia.
@AnnapolisOEM

“The loud boom that was heard across the DMV area was caused by an authorized DOD flight,” officials said. ‘This flight caused a sonic boom.” 

The Federal Aviation Administration has yet to confirm details on the Cessna jet that crashed. A Cessna can typically carry between seven to 12 passengers.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are currently investigating the crash.

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